Up & Coming Weekly

April 13, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM APRIL 14-20, 2021 UCW 11 e Cumberland County School District is being recognized by the American School Board Journal for its efforts to advance equity and break down barriers for underserved students. (Photo courtesy Cumberland County Schools). Cumberland County Schools recognized for commitment to equity in education by JEFF THOMPSON e Cumberland County School District is being recognized for its com- mitment to equity in education, earning two awards in the 27th annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the Na- tional School Board Association's publi- cation American School Board Journal. e Magna Awards honor districts that advance equity and break down barriers for underserved students. Across the nation, there were 15 total awards given. CCS was the only district to earn two awards for "Mentored Next Steps in Equity" and "Equity-Focused Classroom Management." An independent panel of school board members, administrators and other edu- cators met in December and selected the winners. is is the fourth year that the awards recognized school districts and their leaders for efforts to bring educational equity to their students. Educational equity depends on two main factors — fairness and inclusion. Fairness implies that fac- tors specific to one's personal conditions should not interfere with academic success. Inclusion refers to a comprehensive standard that applies to everyone in the education system. "e 2021 Magna Award-winning districts repre- sent the enormous efforts of school leaders during the pandemic to continue removing barriers to achievement for their underserved and vulnerable students," said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez. Cumberland County schools serve a diverse pupil population: "Almost 72% of our population are students of color (45% African American, 14% His- panic, 9% multiracial, 2.5% Asian American/Pacific Islander, 1.5% Native American)," said Jovan Denaut, CCS Integrated Academic & Behavior Facilitator. In CCS, 78% of the student body receives free and reduced-price lunches. e District Equity Team strives to develop com- prehensive programs that encourage diversity and excellence in its administrators, teachers and staff and works to ensure that all students are provided equitable opportunities and outcomes. "I've been doing equity work in the district for seven years," Denaut said. "e Core Values of the CCS Strategic Plan focus on equity. Students have equitable access to engaging learning that prepares them to be col- laborative, competitive and successful." "We proudly serve diverse student populations at our 89 schools," said Alicia Chisolm, chair of the Cumberland County Board of Education. "Despite the challenges associated with the global pandemic, we are moving forward with the Cumberland Com- mitment: Strategic Plan 2024, and are making prog- ress toward accomplishing our goals, which include defining, understanding and promoting educational equity. " e growing importance of equity is based on the premise that an individual's level of education directly correlates to his future quality of life. "Mentored Next Steps in Equity" was launched after a professional development workshop left participants asking what they could do to promote equity in their respective areas. e other initiative "Equity-Focused Classroom Management," was an intensive classroom management course imple- mented to embrace diversity. Equity in education usually means fairness. It requires putting systems in place to ensure that every child has an equal chance for success. at requires understanding the challenges and barriers faced by individual students or by populations of students and providing additional support to help them overcome those barriers. While this may not ensure equal outcomes, school systems should strive to ensure that every child has equal opportunity for success. e American Academy of Pediatrics believes that race/ethnicity, gender and so- cioeconomic status are likely to emerge as predictors of adult health status. Socioeco- nomic status interacts with and confounds analyses of race/ethnicity and gender. e Academy recommends that pediatricians, in collaboration with social scientists, should develop and apply research meth- odologies that result in careful definitions of the effects of these variables on child health. In the context of social systems such as educa- tion the terms equity and equality have similar but slightly different meanings. Equality refers to scenarios in which all segments of society have the same levels of opportunity and support. Equity extends the concept of equality to include providing varying levels of support based on individual need or ability. In education, equality means providing every student with the same experience. Equity, however, means overcoming discrimination against specific groups of people, especially defined by race and gender. In modern times, usage of the term equity has increased because of concerns about social justice and a desire for fairness for historically oppressed groups. Minority groups often have equal rights but are treated unfairly due to unequal access to resources or opposition from the majority who deny others equal representation while still acting within the law. NEWS JEFF THOMPSON, Reporter. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. make your Radio sound funny. Mornings 6am to 10am on WFAY. Bud & Broadway

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